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Unread 05-16-2013, 10:53 PM   #1
aarondramp
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Join Date: 05-06-13
Location: Charlotte, NC
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Default Help out a charcoal noob

So here's my background...

I love food. I love to cook. I love learning about cooking and food in every way. One of my favorite websites is America's Test Kitchen because they really break down what works and what doesn't. Most of my expertise is in baking, but I have cooked iwith just about everything except one...charcoal.

Well, I have been wanting to learn how to smoke, so I decided to build a UDS. Everything went smoothly, and when I was done, I fired it up to season my new creation. I filled my fire basket with Kingsford briquettes and torched the top briquettes with my recently acquired propane torch. I put the fire basket in, closed off 2 of my 4 intake holes, opened the exhaust and let it go. It quickly got up to about 260, so I covered all but half of one hole, and then ended up maintaining 250 for a few hours with two holes half open.

After about 3 hours, I decided to throw on a couple fatties to help season the smoker. As many of you probably know already, my sausage ended up tasting like charcoal. I did a lot of reading and discovered that it is ideal to slowly get the temperature up instead of choking it down. I also had no idea that thick white smoke was bad. Lesson learned.

So today, I got some lump charcoal, and threw about 8 pieces in the bottom of my fire basket. I torched them and then added more lump on top for a bit of reverse minion approach since I don't have a chimney. I let it very slowly come up in temperature and let it go for about 2 hours at 260, and the smoke coming out of the top seemed to be blue and wispy. I put on a few italian sausages, but the taste still seemed charcoaly. It wasn't nearly as bad as last time but still overpowing.

So can you wise veterans give this noob some help? Should I have added some wood to negate the pure charcoal or am I doing something else wrong? I'm heading to bed, but I'll be back on in the morning to discuss some more.
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